Paramedics work long hours, night shift, often eat takeaway, have high levels of stress and many, unfortunately still smoke… all of this leads to poorer health outcomes, early deaths, and poor qualities of life for those who have helped so many, when it is their time to grow old.
The following are some basic recommendations to ensure that you are one of the few “Healthy Paramedics” out there:
1. Keep the job while you still love the job and get rid of it once it starts to get to you and you find yourself hating the job. I’ve watched some people work as a paramedic for forty plus years, and loved every day of it, and then I’ve watched other paramedics who hate it after the first few years. At the end of the day, your not doing yourself any favours by staying in a job you don’t like, nor are you helping your patients who you are shot with, or your partners who find it ever harder to work with you.
2. Get some sleep – chronic sleep deprivation is the number one causes of many cancers, diseases, and immune system disorders. This means, sleep before your nights shift/ after your night shift. Sleep is like a piggy bank, you need a certain amount, and a gradual loss of an hour or two each night will result in an empty sleep piggybank.
3. Pack your own lunch/dinners – a wise person once said that the difference between failure and success is a few simple mistakes, repeated every day over many years. If you eat take away every day as a paramedic (which is common given that most places give us half price meals with extra fatty toppings) – you will become over weight and this will lead to poor health outcomes.
4. Don’t smoke – if you want to live a little longer and a much healthier life free from regular disease and illness, don’t smoke – its that simple.
5. Drink alcohol in moderation – most paramedics like a good drink with friends – that’s fine, but don’t drink to excess regularly, it takes it out of your body systems. Remember, one glass of red wine is good for the heart, a couple bottles doesn’t make it any better…
6. Drink plenty of water!
7. Eat low GI foods, fresh fruits and vegitables, and a variety of nutrient rich meals. Nutritionalists recommend high consumption of fibre, which litterally flushes out most of the toxins that we regularly put into our poor bowels.
8. Be active every day. Even just half an hour of walking every day goes a long way to staying healthy. Most paramedics think that because they’re lifting patients they have a physical job, in reality, we spend most of our time, waiting in hospitals, waiting on the couch for the “big job” and sitting in traffic – this all results in a lot of sitting and very little health benefits.
Enjoy the job and stay healthy!